Holiday Season Focus, Discipline, and Leadership

photo_duncanlaw4This time of year is challenging for sales teams with a December fiscal year-end.  It’s no wonder leading software companies like MSFT and Salesforce.com end their fiscal year’s on different schedules!  That said, there are two dynamics that must be planned for.  

The first is closing crucial year-end deals.  If you haven’t already asked the question (“Is there any reason why we can’t conclude this transaction before Dec 23rd?) there is no time like the present.  In a perfect world, that question would have been answered already in the qualifying discussion related to your prospect’s purchasing process ( who? how? when?).  The answer to that question will have a direct impact on your forecast for December and Q4.  It is good practice to jointly build in a detailed timeline with your prospect to address the steps that need to be completed.  These include proposal modification, draft agreement submission, and availability of key resources including legal.  Well planned and executed sales processes will deliver your agreements on the 23rd. 

The second dynamic is your or your team’s January/Q1 pipeline.  It ‘s easy for sales teams to spend an inordinate amount of time staring at the phone and fax machine “wishing” it to come to life with good news from your prospects.  It’s easy to get away from the on-going requirement and imperative of filling and managing the pipeline.  It is crucial for teams to maintain continued momentum and activity for January/Q1 deals.  This requires discipline, focus and leadership during a time that features a high degree of distraction and competing priorities.  Don’t fall or let your team fall into the trap of losing sight of next month and quarter.  There’s nothing better than having a good January pipeline enhanced by a few deals that didn’t make Q4.  The result is a solid January and a foundation for Q1 success.

Good luck!

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